Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?


From the time we were kids, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it? Breakfast influences more than you might think. Consider the latest research findings:

  • Breakfast consumption among adolescents on weekends is associated with greater engagement in moderate and vigorous physical activity on weekends.1
  • Frequency of skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower hip bone mineral density in women. Moreover, hip bone mineral density in women who skip breakfast is three or more times lower than in women who do not skip breakfast.2
  • Consuming a high-calorie breakfast results in significantly more weight loss than consuming a high-calorie dinner.3
  • Breakfast consumption is associated with aerobic fitness and lower limb muscle power in children.4
  • A low-calorie diet, with a higher amount of calories at breakfast, can establish a greater reduction in fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity than a typical daily diet.5
  • Compared with breakfast consumers, women who rarely or never eat breakfast tend to have poorer self-rated health and less nutrition knowledge, be smokers, pay less attention to their health and not prioritize their own healthy eating when busy looking after their family.6

Thus, it seems our parents were right—given how closely it is linked to involvement in physical activity and to meeting daily nutrient needs, breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day. In order to take advantage of this age-old adage, encourage your patients and clients to start each day with a nutrient-rich, satisfying breakfast. Achieving a better state of health, including improvements in weight control, bone health and development of other healthful lifestyle habits, can be as simple as that.



  1. Corder K, van Sluijs EM, Ridgway CL, Steele RM, Prynne CJ, Stephen AM, Bamber DJ, Dunn VJ, Goodyer IM, Ekelund U. (2014). Breakfast consumption and physical activity in adolescents: daily associations and hourly patterns. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(2):361-368.
  2. Kuroda T, Onoe Y, Yoshikata R, Ohta H. (2013). Relationship between skipping breakfast and bone mineral density in young Japanese women. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 22(4):583-589.
  3. Garaulet M, G?mez-Abell?n P. (2014). Timing of food intake and obesity: A novel association. Physiol Behav. Jan 24.
  4. Thivel D, Aucouturier J, Isacco L, Lazaar N, Ratel S, Dor? E, Meyer M, Duch? P. (2013). Are eating habits associated with physical fitness in primary school children? Eat Behav. 14(1):83-86.
  5. Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, Annino G, Guglielmi V, D’Adamo M, Iellamo F, Sbraccia P. (2014). Morning Meal More Efficient for Fat Loss in a 3-Month Lifestyle Intervention. J Am Coll Nutr. 8:1-8.
  6. Smith KJ, McNaughton SA, Cleland VJ, Crawford D, Ball K. (2013). Health, behavioral, cognitive, and social correlates of breakfast skipping among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. J Nutr. 143(11):1774-1784.
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